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Harvard Flunks Investing, Taps Accel's Jim Breyer

Jim Breyer may help the university's endowment stop losing money.
Breyer at the 2011 World Economic Forum
Breyer at the 2011 World Economic Forum Photograph by Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

When the Ivy League’s fiscal year ended in June, Harvard University finished in an unfamiliar spot: last. The school’s endowment was the only one in the hallowed group to lose money on its investments, with a return of negative 0.05 percent—below the average gain of 2.3 percent and well behind Dartmouth’s leading return of 5.8 percent. Harvard’s fund is still the Ivy League’s biggest by far, at $30.7 billion, but in Cambridge, ranking eighth in anything simply will not do.

And so on Feb. 4, the university announced that prominent venture capitalist Jim Breyer of Accel Partners had joined Harvard’s board.